Product Launches

Successful Product Launch Planning

Written by Samuel Muriithi for Gaebler Ventures

Thanks to the dynamics of modern day business the launch of new products and services is an all too common but vital phenomena. Doing this correctly requires the use of a product launch plan or indeed a concept of the same. What are the various stages that must be followed and what do these entail?

There are three basic steps that must be fulfilled if a successful product launch plan is to be realized.

The first of these is planning. It is here that the management goes about the processes of preliminary designing and development to come up with the final product that will be launched into the market. This is the stage where aspects of specifications and features are hammered out to perfection.

Market experience reveals that most product launch plan success stories have been achieved after this planning stage has been initiated alongside the marketing activities required in promoting the same product/service, otherwise known as positioning. Positioning involves activities like the setting of distribution and sales channels, advertising and other promotional activities.

It is imperative that the planning stage of a product launch plan be conducted from an informed point of view. This will help avert launch fail scenarios, one of the most common being the production/manufacture of inadequate quantities of new product such that prospective customers cannot be satisfied in their entirety.

The positioning aspect of a product launch plan is where management must see to it that the new product is sold as a unique offering, different from everything else that the marketplace offers. Positioning is all about giving the new product/service a unique identity and if this is well achieved it is certain to work positively for the organization's overall positioning. Management should not spare any effort in getting this stage right. Surprisingly, nothing so complex is required; the idea is to find the most favorable manner in which the new product can enter the market successfully.

Secondly, some level of testing is a prerequisite. The views and opinions of the prospective customers must be sought to ensure that the final offering represents the best fit. Next, the message about this offering must be repeatedly delivered through the use of different promotional techniques like issuing of press releases, advertising, public relations etc. Management has to ensure that this new offering will be launched to an anticipatory market.

The final stage in a product launch plan is the execution stage. This basically covers all that will be done in ensuring the product reaches the customers. The requisite sales channels need to be designed and set up. Aspects of correct pricing strategy with respect to the competition also come to the fore here. For each product launch plan it is of the essence that the execution be done only after a due diligence exercise has been conducted to ascertain that all marketplace variables and required financial resources have been satisfactorily taken care of.

Samuel Muriithi is a business owner in Nairobi, Kenya. He has extensive international business experience in the United States and India.

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